3 Reasons NOT to File Divorce On Your Own
by: Brian K. Zoeller, Attorney
Do-it-yourself projects can be found all over cable television. Celebrity chefs show us how to create the most amazing meals to wow our family and friends. Contractors design and create the perfect backyard landscaping project within short timeframes and assure us that with a little knowledge and several extra pairs of hands, we too can have a showcase home. In our neighborhoods, local stores put on demonstrations to show us how easily we can frame our own pictures or reupholster our furniture.
The reality is that many do-it-yourself projects end up as an idea that never got started or a product that did not quite turn out the way we envisioned it. In some cases, the project can go so far awry and end up causing damage– which ultimately requires a professional to step in and fix the mistakes. This can make the do-it-yourself project a lot more costly than if you would have hired a professional in the first place.
But, we agree on everything
Just because a divorcing couple is in agreement to the way assets and debts should be divided, this doesn’t mean that a lawyer cannot add value to the transaction. There is much more to a divorce than a division of property and child custody/support issues. A knowledgeable family law attorney can advise you of your legal rights and options and advocate on your behalf. Here are a few other reasons NOT to file your own divorce.
1. You think it’s cheaper than hiring an attorney. Some websites and legal document preparation companies may lead you to believe that if you are filing an uncontested divorce–meaning both parties agree to the terms–that it’s not necessary to hire an attorney. While you can certainly obtain these forms on your own, completing and filing the documents by yourself may put your legal rights at risk.
2. You don’t know the jargon. Legal forms can be confusing. In the time it may take you to educate yourself on the process of divorce and the paperwork involved, an experienced family law attorney, familiar with the process of divorce, could have gotten your petition filed and processed in a fraction of the time.
3. Experience is worth paying for. Family law attorneys spend countless hours representing people in a variety of divorce, child custody, and parenting time matters. They are familiar with trial rules, family law rules, and local rules. Divorce Decrees can have a major, long-term impact on you, your finances, and your children, so it really makes no sense to try and save money on something so critical to your future.
Divorce is stressful. Turning your divorce into a do-it-yourself project is generally not a good idea. Protect your rights and your peace of mind by hiring an attorney who can provide you sound advice and advocate on your behalf.